Friday, 13 March 2015

New Toejam & Earl game in development! Kickstarter project needs your help!


Bring back the funk!

Whatup Yo? Erm...? Well, I was going to start with an amusing string of 'urban slang' as part of an introduction to this piece, but I suddenly realised how uncool I am and that I would end up sounding like Jessie from Breaking Bad ("Gatorade me, bitch!"). Anyway, gamers from the 16-bit era will know all about Toejam & Earl! Released on the Sega Mega Drive way back in 1991, this funky, exploration game was a breath of fresh air in a world populated by platformers and fighting games. A roguelike at heart, TJ&E tasked you with wandering around the cartoon landscape attempting to find pieces of your broken space ship whilst avoiding a selection of some of the most bizarre enemies ever seen in a videogame - rogue dentists, possessed mailboxes, giant hamster wheels and stampeding nerds to name but a few. Adding to the madness were unopened presents which, when opened, could grant you useful items such as speed-giving super hi-tops, extra health, icarus wings, or money. They could, unfortunately also contain deadly items such as enemies, rain clouds that would follow you, zapping you with lightning, or even instant death. The random nature of these presents, along with the randomised levels and ship piece placement resulted in a game with plenty of replay value. The two player split screen - which allowed both players to wander off and do their own thing - sealed the deal and Toejam & Earl went on to become a cult hit. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Amiga Homebrew - Fire 'N Ice (Solomon's Key 2)


Underrated 8-bit puzzler gets 16-bit port

A new homebrew game for the Commodore Amiga is always reason to celebrate and this brand new port of a classic, yet little known, NES game is no exception. While many old school gamers will be familiar with classic platform puzzler Solomon's Key, not that many people realise that Tecmo released a sequel in 1993, entitled Fire 'N Ice, exclusive to Nintendo's 8-bit console. Released late in the life of the NES, Fire 'N Ice failed to make much impact as most people had moved onto the SNES. This makes finding a copy of the game difficult and very expensive these days, but thanks to emulation this doesn't stop you from playing it on your PC / PSP / Xbox or whatever other system you enjoy running emulators on (you naughty person!). Now you can also enjoy the game on your Amiga, as lone developer Hukka has ported it to everyone's favourite 16-bit home computer!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

REVIEW - Don't Die, Mr. Robot! (PlayStation Vita)


"Spoiler : You Will Die!"

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best - from a slice of bread fresh from the oven, to a cold beer on a hot day. This philosophy is carried across to the world of videogames, which is why classic 80's arcade games have such a strong following some 30+ years after their original release. While complex titles involving the use of more buttons than you would find in a helicopter cockpit have their place in gaming, it is the no frills, one or two button, easy to pick up & play titles that keep us enthralled for years - Just look at the roaring success of Rovio's Angry Birds and Namco's sublime Pacman Championship Edition DX for proof of this. Now there's another title that can be used as a perfect example of the 'simple = good' mantra - Infinite State Games' Don't Die Mr. Robot! on the PlayStation Vita.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Commodore Amiga Special - Modern Amiga Gaming - Gotek USB Floppy Drive

Modern Amiga gaming 

Gotek USB Floppy Drive Special

Recently I have been having a long overdue Amiga revival! For those of you who don't know (have you been living under a rock?) the Amiga is a 16-bit home computer made by Commodore and released way back in 1985. While originally released as a high end computer for business use (yawn) it wasn't long before it became known as a gaming machine thanks to its fantastic graphical capabilities and fun software. A couple of years later the most famous model of Amiga, the Amiga 500, was released and it cemented Commodore's machine as a home gaming platform bar none - It took PC games many years to catch up to the same level!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Retro Review - Sega Rally Championship (Arcade, Saturn, PS2, PC)

Sega doing what Sega do best!

There have been many, many arcade racing games over the years, but some stand the test of time better than others. For every amazing and instantly gratifying title that can still be enjoyed 10 or more years after its original release, there are a hundred other bland, generic and instantly forgettable games out there. While racers on home consoles have evolved over time to offer more depth, more cars, more customisation, more tracks and more content in general, it's the simpler, less complicated arcade racers that hold up in the all important fun and replayability stakes. Each Gran Turismo or Forza game automatically renders its predecessor void as they focus heavily on realistic visuals while games such as Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 never lose their appeal. It's no coincidence that I use two Sega games as examples, as they are truly the masters of the genre. Almost every racer they have released has set the bar for the time, provided more thrill and spills than anything else out there, and provided a template for others to imitate, yet never better. The aforementioned Daytona USA and Outrun 2006 are two of the best games in their genre, but it is Sega Rally Championship that gets my vote for, not only best arcade racing game of all time, but racing game overall.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Wolfenstein 3D demo ROM released for Sega Mega Drive


Great news for both retro console gamers and fans of the original first person shooter Wolfenstein 3D as it has finally found its way onto the Sega Mega Drive. Back in 1994, the Super Nintendo was lucky enough to get a port of Id Software's ground breaking title, but it was a heavily censored and very feeble looking port that wasn't a patch on the PC original. Still, it played well enough and was extremely popular. Now Mega Drive owners can finally get some payback as this unofficial port by Gasega68k blows the SNES version out of the water. It features a far less pixellated look that is much closer to the PC version, and the scrolling is incredibly smooth for the 16-bit system. Indeed, the whole affair is incredibly impressive, with 6-button controller support, digitised speech, the ability to save your game and graphical filters to further enhance the look of the game - though these, naturally, would only work on an emulator. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review - Ziggurat (PC) Awesome Old School Fantasy FPS


Don't be a Heretic, play this new fantasy FPS!

Fantastic news for those of you whom, like myself, adore the classic old school first person shooters of yesteryear. None of this Call of Modern Halo Fighter 4 bullshit for me thanks. I want fast paced, satisfying action, not tedious, po-faced military shooters filled with lengthy cutscenes and constant Q.T.Es. Games such as Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake 1 - 3 and Half-Life are still yet to be bettered and play exceptionally well many years after their original release. It's no wonder all of those titles are still supported by talented modders, with a wealth of exciting and original content to spice up the solid mechanics and gameplay provided in the original titles. Many indie developers have tried to recreate these classic games, but always fail - seeming to miss out the vital ingredients that made the games they are trying to emulate so special. This could be down to poor level or character design, weedy guns that provide zero satisfaction, boring environments to explore, or the addition of unnecessary gimmicks. Both Wrack and Rogue Shooter are recent examples of how not to pay tribute to the classic FPS, and now we have Ziggurat to show us that a decent indie old school FPS is indeed possible.